Weekly Jobless Claims: Moving in the Right Direction, but Still Staggering

By at 11 June, 2020, 3:36 pm

by Raymond J. Keating-

While the direction – that is, downward – has been welcome in recent weeks, the fact remains that initial weekly jobless claims persist at staggering levels.

In the latest report from the U.S. Department of Labor, for the week ending June 6, seasonally adjusted initial unemployment claims came in at 1,542,000. That was down from 1,877,000 for the previous week – and dramatically higher levels over the past nearly three months. To gain further perspective, however, that 1,542,000 compared to 220,000 at the same point last year.

Source: Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, FRED

The insured unemployment rate for the week ending May 30 was 14.4 percent, which was down from 14.6 percent in the previous week.

As for insured unemployment (continued claims) for the week ending May 30, that number came in at 20,929,000, compared to 21,268,000 in the previous week. At the same point last year, insured unemployment stood at 1,700,000.

Source: Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, FRED

Again, the fact that the unemployment data is less bad than over the past two-plus months is welcome. The direction is right. At the same time, the fact that this economy is still seeing extremely high levels of initial jobless claims speaks to continuing economic woes, and how deep the economic hole is.

Raymond J. Keating is chief economist for the Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council.



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